Friday, 3 June 2011

Rainy Day Curry: Pass it on!

Yesterday, like so many days in Seattle, was a rainy day. And since I had just checked Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution out from the library, and since my friend Adriana was coming over for dinner, I decided  that it would the perfect occasion for a rainy day curry. There's just something so comforting about a homemade curry on a rainy day -- or at least that's what I imagined, since it's not like I'm making curries all the time around here or anything. But seize the diem and all that.

In England I never actually tried any Jamie Oliver recipes, but his Food Revolution cookbook caught my eye. I love his philosophy of simple, delicious and affordable meals. I'm into good food and all, but I can't 100% say that I love spending the time necessary to cook it, so simplicity is my motto. Also, Jamie talks about the concept of passing it on, and sharing recipes and cooking skills with friends. I thought it would be fun then for Adriana and I to make the meal together so both of us would have a new recipe in our arsenal, should it go well. Skill-sharing in sweet action.

I chose his Chicken Tikka Masala recipe and tweaked it to be veggie friendly, subbing my ubiquitous chickpea and petit pois for chicken. The sauce was made using Patak's curry paste, and it turned out well. Phew! The ginger added a really nice flavor burst, in my opinion.

To really push the boat out I found a Mango Lassi recipe, the perfect compliment to a curry. I wanted to try out Jamie's Lassi recipe, to keep to his brand for the evening, but wasn't bothered to be converting from milliliters if not utterly necessary, so created my own recipe. Adding the vanilla was key for me.

Fresh-cut flowers from the garden to accent the meal.

And here we are... Overall, I was impressed with the recipe. I think adding the extra water as called for is unnecessary, but feel free to play it by ear. Hope you can try it out sometime, and let me know if you do.

Chicken Tikka Masala (From Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution)
serves 4-6

4 skinless chicken breast fillets
2 medium onions
1 red chili
a thumb-sized piece of root ginger
a small bunch of fresh cilantro (ie coriander)
peanut or vegetable oil (I just used olive oil & it was fine)
a pat of butter
1/2 cup mild curry paste such as Patak's
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1x 14oz can of diced tomatoes
1x 14oz can of coconut milk
1 cup natural yogurt
a small handful of sliced almonds (optional)

Instructions, abridged

Cut your chicken into strips and peel and slice your veg. For the cilantro, take the leaves off and put to the side for garnish and chop the stalks for the sauce.

Put a large pot on a medium to high heat and put the oil and butter in. Add the onions, chili, ginger and coriander and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the curry paste and strips of chicken (or chickpeas!). Stir well to coat everything and season with some S&P. Add the tomatoes and coconut milk. And the controversial step: Fill one empty can with water, add to the pot and stir again. Bring to a boil and then simmer, with lid on, for 20 minutes. Check on it to make sure it doesn't burn and smoke out your kitchen (that's my addition, not Jamie's).

When the meat is tender give it a taste and season if necessary.

For the Mango Lassi recipe, I just stuck some chopped and frozen mango (thanks Trader Joe's) into the blender with 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, 2 teaspoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Nomnomnom...

Well, I think I've certainly done my pass it on duty for the week. It looks like for the first time all year Seattle might have a weekend free of rainy days, so I'm glad I got that curry in when I did.

Do you have any recipes to pass on? What's your default meal when making dinner for friends?


Jocy May said...

yum- that looks amazing! i love a good curry :)

Dee said...

Ooh, that looks good! Jamie is the best!

Call me A.S for AkiraSabine said...

Yum, with lots of yummy Indian food around me and being a lil' of a miser, I guess I shall give this recipe a try! Afterall, what's more fulfilling than to tweak the recipe to our liking and enjoying the fruit of our labour at the end of the day!

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